Restaurant review: The Foundry, Leeds

The Foundry, Leeds.
The Foundry, Leeds.
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In retrospect, some research probably would have been a good idea.

But caught up in the inviting notion of what promised to be a much-needed distraction from some truly appalling weather, my companion and I charged headlong into a visit to The Foundry without any real clue as to where we were going.

We knew it was somewhere in the shadow of Bridgewater Place, so told our plucky taxi driver to travel in that direction with the foolishly confident assertion that “we’d find it when we got there.”

Fifteen minutes of aimless searching and two three-point turns later, we gave up and reached for our smartphones for some directions.

As it happened, blinded by a shower of sleet, we’d driven past the entrance at least twice before finally finding it.

Perhaps the journey and conditions outside made the welcome seem all the warmer, but whatever the reason, the cold and wind were instantly forgotten as we entered to be greeted by three members of staff who, if they cared that we were 20 minutes late, did an amazing job not to show it.

Fillet of beef medallions with slow cooked daube, horseradish crust and red wine sauce.

Fillet of beef medallions with slow cooked daube, horseradish crust and red wine sauce.

A quick look round as we were ushered to our table revealed lots of intricately carved, dark wood fixtures, with an array of wine bottles dotted around a softly lit restaurant area that is manages to be simultaneously cosy and spacious.

It was bustling and busy, as you’d expect on a Saturday night, with lots of staff flitting about.

But rather than that resulting in a rowdy, chaotic atmosphere, instead there was the characteristic low hum of people enjoying good food, wine and conversation.

The Foundry describes itself as a place specialising in classic British food with a wine list that it proudly boasts is one of the best in the city.

My fork broke into the light pastry to find a cheese so temptingly gooey that leaving any behind was simply not an option.

The food menu isn’t huge, but it’s populated by enough heavy-hitting dishes to make selecting a favourite difficult.

After tucking into a basket of bread, my companion chose the chicken liver pate with toast, served with a port, orange and redcurrant sauce at £6.95.

The pate was accompanied by a thick, crunchy toast and had a light, smooth texture and a surprisingly delicate flavour, which was offset perfectly by the sweet, tangy sauce.

The perfect bread to pate ratio also meant there weren’t any leftovers either.

Brandy snap with oranges and caramel.

Brandy snap with oranges and caramel.

I chose goats cheese in filo pastry with apple and balsamic raisins, again at £6.95.

A dauntingly hefty portion, my initial reservations about whether I could finish it were allayed as soon as my fork broke into the light pastry to find a cheese so temptingly gooey that leaving any behind was simply not an option.

And the apples and raisins gave a fruity lift to a dish that was simple but faultless.

Before turning to the mains, it would be remiss of me not to refer to the wine list. So impressive was the selection (140 different wines in total) that we took almost as long deciding on our tipple than we did our food.

After much deliberation and disagreement, we found ourselves unable to come to an accord, instead opting to indulge our individual tastes and ordering by the glass.

My companion ordered a Luis Alegre rosé Rioja which was full of citrus flavour.

A starter of salmon three ways - smoked, cured and poached.

A starter of salmon three ways - smoked, cured and poached.

I went for a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, which was light and well balanced.

Both our choices left us suitably refreshed and ready to tackle what looked like some substantial mains.

My companion ordered a roast rump of lamb at £17.95, which came resting on a pea and mint potato cake and was served with redcurrant gravy.

I watched enviously as he sliced easily into a doorstop-sized lump of meat that was cooked, seasoned and presented perfectly.

He also waxed lyrical about the delicious potato cake which was light and fluffy with an oily, crispy crust.

I had high hopes for my own main too – a roast fillet Steak Diane with French mustard, brandy, mushrooms and cream. At £20, we pushed the boat out a bit – and it was certainly worth it.

The succulent steak was cooked to perfection and the sauce added a spicy little kick.

We also ordered a side of fries, which were a little disappointing and not really necessary.

After such meaty mains, you’d think we might struggle to find room for dessert, but our commitment was unwavering.

My companion’s eyes were drawn to the brandy snap with oranges and caramel, but after much internal wrangling, he opted for a crème brulee.

My companion considers himself somewhat of an authority on puddings and considers it a culinary crime if a chef messes around too much when it comes to the classics.

His almost total silence for the duration of the final course was testament to just how good this crème brulee was and not a tiny spec of the thick, creamy dessert went to waste.

I ordered a dark chocolate terrine with orange and vanilla sauce and sadly, this was a bit of a let down.

It looked fairly uninspiring and lacked any wow factor, with the orange sauce having an unpleasant, sticky texture that failed to balance out the slightly bland slab of chocolate.

Despite that final blip, we both felt replete and satisfied and did not baulk at all at the bill of just under £90.

In fact we felt so warm and contented at The Foundry that we were loathe to head back outside into the cold and rain.

When we could put it off no longer though, we left with a certain smugness at the fact we had discovered a cosy little nook, tucked away from it all, that we would be sure to explore again.

And next time, we’ll know exactly where we’re going.